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  • Wireless Emergency Alerts Come to iPhone 5 and 4S AT&T Users


    The second largest wireless carrier in the U.S., AT&T, recently announced that it will be pushing out an update to subscribers who own an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S with the new software supporting an FCC-mandated Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The system will allow iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S owners to receive government-issued safety messages in the form of text-like messages.

    It was the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, non-profit trade organization for the wireless industry CTIA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency who cooperated to create the WEA system. As noted on the CTIA’s website, WEA-capable mobile devices originally began receiving alerts in April of 2012.

    For those of you wondering about what types of alerts you’ll be getting, you should know that there are three types of alerts which are broken down into the following:

    • Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designee;
    • Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists; and
    • AMBER Alerts– Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice's criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.
    Although the alerts come to users in something resembling a text message, the system actually uses different, faster technology instead. Subscribers also will not be charged for any incoming alerts.

    According to AT&T, iPhones running iOS 6.1 or later will have the update automatically downloaded and installed over the air, while those running an older version of iOS will have to connect to iTunes to receive the update.

    Source: AT&T (blog), CTIA
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Wireless Emergency Alerts Come to iPhone 5 and 4S AT&T Users started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 56 Comments
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hogcia View Post
      I'm disabling this ASAP. Don't trust it at all. Just another "sneaky" way for the (you know who) to track us!
      Disabling that, you are not doing nothing like you think from stoping them to track you, you are just disabling the alarm or option but they send you the message anyways the only thing is you are not going to be alerted.

      The only way to stop that is if AT&T cancel that service for you and that's not going to happen...
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Big Brother is watching.
    1. buggsy2's Avatar
      buggsy2 -
      Suddenly iPhone 4s are selling for a premium...

      I have a jailbroken iPhone 5 with the AT&T carrier tweak for increased speed applied, so far, haven't got this update. Does the carrier tweak block this update?

      Edit: assuming that the carrier hack was blocking this update, I reverted back to the old carrier file following the instructions by the author of the carrier hack for a jailbroken iPhone, using iFile. Now, each time I go to Settings->General->About it pops up a message box that "Carrier Settings Updated", but I still haven't got the AT&T update.
    1. slim.jim's Avatar
      slim.jim -
      Lmao this thread is hilarious... So many tin foil hat wearers have chimed in.
    1. mr117's Avatar
      mr117 -
      Tinfoil hats, anyone? Geez, the level of paranoia her is getting a bit much. You all do realize that, under the last President, the one many of you seem to miss (you know, the one that started two un-paid-for wars that we are paying for now, the one under whom the economy imploded), EVERY conversation you had (text, landline, cell phone and email) went through government computers- and that is not MY paranoia saying it. Big brother has been watching for quite some time now. Just look at the cameras everywhere on street corners. As to "tracking" you, your cell phone is being tracked and triangulated at all times. THEY know where YOU are. So freaking out about an AT&T carrier update that lets us get emergency alerts is not really too worrying.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by buggsy2 View Post
      Yeah because if a major disaster is imminent your sleep is more important.
      Well I do have an option to turn em off. Don't I?
    1. ThatOneProfile's Avatar
      ThatOneProfile -
      Quote Originally Posted by mr117 View Post
      Tinfoil hats, anyone? Geez, the level of paranoia her is getting a bit much. You all do realize that, under the last President, the one many of you seem to miss (you know, the one that started two un-paid-for wars that we are paying for now, the one under whom the economy imploded), EVERY conversation you had (text, landline, cell phone and email) went through government computers- and that is not MY paranoia saying it. Big brother has been watching for quite some time now. Just look at the cameras everywhere on street corners. As to "tracking" you, your cell phone is being tracked and triangulated at all times. THEY know where YOU are. So freaking out about an AT&T carrier update that lets us get emergency alerts is not really too worrying.
      Where have you been buddy? There's this thing going on right now called "PRISM" you should definitely check it out sometime. Or you can sit on a jailbreak forum bashing people who respect their fourth amendment privacy rights.
    1. MoDaLoT's Avatar
      MoDaLoT -
      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post
      Not yet on my iPhone 5, Florida.
      Nor in Iowa

      Quote Originally Posted by MoDaLoT View Post
      Nor in Iowa
      Change that I did receive the update I didn't know what it was.
    1. santacruzlocal's Avatar
      santacruzlocal -
      Anyone else have battery issues after this? I mean ... I know ... I turned it off but what about grandma who doesn't know to watch out for stuff like this.
    1. GenesisDH's Avatar
      GenesisDH -
      Quote Originally Posted by santacruzlocal View Post
      Anyone else have battery issues after this? I mean ... I know ... I turned it off but what about grandma who doesn't know to watch out for stuff like this.
      Since the alerts are still pushed to your device even when toggled off, it won't make a dent on the battery life any more than if you toggle them on. The alerts are sent using a technology known as Cell Broadcast and they do not affect calling or data transmission, so they are similar in scope to SMS. The alerts are sent non-discriminately to all devices near a tower or set of towers. If a device isn't WEA compatible, it basically ignores the alert, devices that are WEA compatible push the alert to the OS for handling. This site talks a bit more about the technology behind it: http://www.cellcastcorp.com/emergency.aspx
      The toggle only determines if the device will show the alerts to the end user. It doesn't change whether or not your device receives them from the cell tower. That alone is at&t's side of things and cannot be changed by the end user.
      Just note: regardless of the toggle, you will always receive Presidential-level alerts. FCC mandated those be pushed to all devices and may not be toggled off, even at the carrier level.
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      Quote Originally Posted by GenesisDH View Post
      Since the alerts are still pushed to your device even when toggled off, it won't make a dent on the battery life any more than if you toggle them on. The alerts are sent using a technology known as Cell Broadcast and they do not affect calling or data transmission, so they are similar in scope to SMS. The alerts are sent non-discriminately to all devices near a tower or set of towers. If a device isn't WEA compatible, it basically ignores the alert, devices that are WEA compatible push the alert to the OS for handling. This site talks a bit more about the technology behind it: Emergency Alerts & Notifications
      The toggle only determines if the device will show the alerts to the end user. It doesn't change whether or not your device receives them from the cell tower. That alone is at&t's side of things and cannot be changed by the end user.
      Just note: regardless of the toggle, you will always receive Presidential-level alerts. FCC mandated those be pushed to all devices and may not be toggled off, even at the carrier level.
      Everything was fine until you added the last part about the Presidential-level alerts. I am surprised there aren't another round of Libertarian-wannabe, aluminum foil hat-wearing, Tea-baggin'-partyin' 'concerned citizens' whining about that. And if I have to read about PRISM one more time in relation to this, you obviously don't know understand what PRISM is. This is the difference between someone watching you and someone standing on a street corner and shouting.
    1. ThatOneProfile's Avatar
      ThatOneProfile -
      Quote Originally Posted by quidam_brujah View Post
      Everything was fine until you added the last part about the Presidential-level alerts. I am surprised there aren't another round of Libertarian-wannabe, aluminum foil hat-wearing, Tea-baggin'-partyin' 'concerned citizens' whining about that. And if I have to read about PRISM one more time in relation to this, you obviously don't know understand what PRISM is. This is the difference between someone watching you and someone standing on a street corner and shouting.
      You are either ignorant or so pro gov. you cannot see the wireless carriers working with the FCC and various government agencies to exploit people's personal info. I know what PRISM is. Unlike you, some people do not like their 4th amendment rights stepped on. (Or any rights taken away) by some (secret program) bs.
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      /facepalm
    1. katheikia's Avatar
      katheikia -
      I have this on my iphone4
    1. dolo69's Avatar
      dolo69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cer0 View Post
      /facepalm
      I have the carrier update with the emergency alerts. Can I install the hacked carrier update with this
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      Quote Originally Posted by GenesisDH View Post
      Just note: regardless of the toggle, you will always receive Presidential-level alerts. FCC mandated those be pushed to all devices and may not be toggled off, even at the carrier level.
      Actually you can toggle Presidential alerts as well, if you have the CommCenter patch installed and make a slight edit to your carrier.plist.

      Look for this section:
      Code:
      			<key>Presidential</key>
      			<dict>
      				<key>EnabledByDefault</key>
      				<true/>
      				<key>NotificationTitle</key>
      				<string>Presidential Alert</string>
      				<key>SwitchName</key>
      				<string>Presidential Alert</string>
      				<key>UserConfigurable</key>
      				<false/>
      			</dict>
      If you change the <false/>, that comes immediately after <key>UserConfigurable</key>, to <true/>, save, and reboot, then you will find that there will now be three toggles under Settings -> Notifications -> Government Alerts, instead of two.

      I am not necessarily advocating turning off Presidential alerts, but I like having the option to do so, just like one can for the other two. Frankly, I don't understand why they left the third one un-toggle-able in the first place.